Highlander girls top Yerington in league opener for 6th straight win
As far as early-season wins go, the Lady Highlanders grabbed a big one Tuesday at Yerington.
Incline made the two-hour bus trip and rode home with a 41-34 victory in both teams’ 2A Northern League opener.
The league clash came a few days after the Highlanders finished the Whittell Invitational with three wins in three games to make it six straight victories and seven of eight on the season.
“It was definitely one of those games where both teams are early in the season, both trying to fine-tune things,” said Incline head coach Indra Winquest. “Overall, this is a huge early season win against a team we’ll probably see down the road later in the playoffs.”
Winquest expects his Highlanders and Yerington to be two of the top teams in the league this season and was thrilled to go on the road and strike first.
Incline was forced to come from behind after first-half shots kept hitting rim with no net. The Highlanders trailed 15-13 after the first 16 minutes.
“We’re two of the top teams this year and there were a lot of nerves,” Winquest said. “It took us awhile to get going, we didn’t run our offense fluently and we couldn’t make shots, but we played well on defense for the entire game.”
The Highlanders made some adjustments, picked up the energy on defense and eventually wore down the Lions with their press.
Winquest said the turning point of the game was Kate Tong guarding Yerington’s top player and shutting her down on the scoreboard and glass.
He also credited Taylor Redfern for hitting big shots and Madison Corneil for her defensive energy, especially when the Highlanders switched in the second half to a man-to-man defense.
He also praised freshmen Elisabeth Stranzl and Brooke Gutheil for their work handling the ball and rebounding, respectively.
Incline (7-1, 1-0 Northern League) outscored Yerington 18-10 in the third period to take control.
Incline began the Whittell tournament with an ice cold shooting touch but found the mark for the final two games.
The Highlanders were 1 for 21 on 3-pointers for the game but still pulled out a 34-25 victory Thursday over Eureka in Zephyr Cove, Nev.
Incline nailed seven 3s Saturday in a 59-24 win over Mineral County and 11 more later in the day in a 55-26 defeat of Bishop Union.
Redfern and Stranzl each scored 47 points in the three games.
Also for Incline, Serena Faulkner scored 11 points and grabbed a team-high 26 rebounds, Gutheil hauled in 23 boards and Corneil scored 22 points and made 15 steals.
“We didn’t hit shots against Eureka but still dominated the second half and the other two games we were great,” Winquest said. “We hit shots and were really good.”
Incline will play Coral Academy, of Reno, at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, and then will hit the road for four straight, including Silver Stage Tuesday and a long trip to Battle Mountain Friday, Dec. 21.
“We don’t like driving a long way to lose,” Winquest said.